Divergence Jazz Orchestra
4 stars
Reviewed by Barry O’Sullivan

Maintaining and sustaining a large-scale jazz orchestra is no mean feat. Born in Sydney’s inner-west in 2012, the nineteen-piece Divergence Jazz Orchestra has been performing, recording and promoting original Australian music since their inception under the bandleader/composer Jenna Cave. Their third studio album consists primarily of eight original instrumental pieces, with a sprinkling of vocal solo contributions from Marie Le Brun on This Too Shall Pass, and centring on Paul Cutlan’s composition The Darkness of Silence, commissioned by Divergence in 2016. The Miroslav Bukovsky classic Delicatessence graces the album with variety and dignity alongside his lesser-known gem, For Woody, happily included and given the note that it deserves with deftly accomplished solos from Paul Cutlan (soprano sax), James Power (trumpet) and David Regular (tenor sax). Stand-out compositions such as Andrew Scott’s Willoway, with Will Gilbert soloing on flugelhorn, and Caves’ Orange and Olive Trees, display the bandleader’s unique gift in creating a varied, subtle mix of repertoire with immense breadth, range and openness. The results are a modern-day testimonial to the big band tradition with an indelible organic recording that is bound to please its followers.